In less than a week, prominent casting directors from around the world will gather at Sarajevo Film Festival, where on August 15th, the International Best Casting Director Award will be presented at a ceremony presided over by Festival President Mirsad Purivatra. Ireland will be represented by Amy Rowan and Carla Stronge for their work on casting Aoife McArdle’s debut feature Kissing Candice.

The Award was established in 2016 by the International Casting Directors Network (ICDN), and represents the first ever international prize for best casting of a feature film. As casting is one of the only departments on a film to receive main titles credit without a national-caliber award (such as an Oscar or Lola), the ICDN recognized a need to increase awareness of the essential role that casting directors play in the filmmaking process.

Without casting directors, a lot of films would never be made. We are there at the beginning of the filmmaking process, helping to secure the leads that will ultimately finance the film. And we guide the creative process, as the rest of the cast is assembled. From leads to supporting roles to day players, we create the ideal palette of talent that will help realize the director’s artistic vision.
Beatrice Kruger, Board President – International Casting Directors Network

Amy Rowan is one of Ireland’s leading casting directors working with directors and production companies at home and abroad – casting film, television and commercial projects with a heady mixture of flair and attention to detail! Her career in film and television begain in 1995 with various production roles before she made the move into casting in 1998. Credits include Lenny Abrahamson’s’ Adam and Paul and Garage, original casting on The Clinic, Pure Mule and Moone Boy, with more than 30 other major credits in between including many short films and commercials. Recent film casting includes Rialto, Damo & Ivor The Movie, Sonja: The White Swan, The Delinquent Season, and Song of Granite. Her theatre work includes productions for the Abbey Theatre, Druid, Dublin Theatre Festival and Max Stafford-Clark’s Out of Joint. She is a member of EFP’s International Network of Casting Directors, and has served as a juror on judging panels for the International Emmys and IFTA.

Carla Stronge is a double Emmy award winning, Northern Irish casting director based in Belfast. Having started in background casting, she began street casting in 2005 before going on to set up Northern Ireland’s first background casting company, Extras NI, in 2007. She worked on casting small parts and child roles on feature films such as City of Ember and Your Highness before working with Nina Gold and Robert Sterne on the casting of hit HBO series Game of Thrones. This has lead to the casting of all three series of The Fall, as well as Zoo, The Frankenstein Chronicles, Derry Girls, and The Woman in White.

Nominated for the 2018 International Best Casting Director Award are casting directors representing 14 different countries:

Bosnia And Herzegovina – Timka Grin (As Timka Grahic) And Harika Uygur for Never Leave Me, Directed By Aida Begic
France – Sarah Teper And Leila Fournier for 120 Beats Per Minute, Directed By Robin Campillo
Germany – Anja Dihrberg Jacqueline Rietz for The Captain, Directed By Robert Schwentke
Ireland – Amy Rowan And Carla Stronge for Kissing Candice, Directed By Aoife Mcardle
Israel – Emmanuelle Mayer for Scaffolding, Directed By Matan Yair
Italy – Francesco Vedovati for Dogman, Directed By Matteo Garrone
Norway – Mette Holme Nielsen And Belinda Sørensen for U – July 22, Directed By Erik Poppe
Romania – Florentina Bratfanof for Touch Me Not, Directed By Adina Pintilie
Spain – Camilla-Valentine Isola* for The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Directed By Terry Gilliam
Sweden – Jeanette Klintberg for Sami Blood , Directed By Amanda Kernell
Switzerland – Corinna Glaus for Blue My Mind, Directed By Lisa BrüHlmann
The Netherlands – Marina Wijn for Just Friends, Directed By Ellen Smit
United Kingdom – Shaheen Baig for Lady Macbeth, Directed By William Oldroyd
United States Of America – Heidi Levitt, Lana Veenker And Eryn Goodman for Bad Samaritan, Directed By Dean Devlin

The ICDN and Sarajevo Film Festival have also teamed up to provide a week-long program of events from August 12th to the 16th, centering on the casting profession. Entitled “Casting at the Heart of Filmmaking,” the program includes panels, Q&As, an international acting workshop, a master class through Talents Sarajevo, an Award reception hosted by Spotlight, one-on-one meetings between casting directors, producers and directors, and “Meals for Monologues,” a food drive/casting call benefiting the refugees of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Casting directors participating in the program include Debbie McWilliams (UK), Beatrice Kruger (IT), Harika Uygur (TU), Anja Dihrberg (DE), Timka Grin (BA), Lana Veenker (USA), Francesco Vedovati (IT), Nancy Bishop (USA), Tusse Lande (SE) and Magdalena Szwarcbart (PL).

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